AOL thinks again about AIM Terms of Service

According to eWeek (where do they get these names from?), AOL has been taken aback by the storm of protest raised by its plans to change the terms of service under which people use AIM.

“We’re not making any policy changes. We’re making some linguistic changes to clarify certain things and explain it a little better to our users,” AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein told

The modifications will use similar language from the AIM privacy policy to “make it clear that AOL does not read private user-to-user communications,” Weinstein said.

“We’ll be adding that to the beginning of the section to make it clear that the privacy rights discussed in that section only refer to content posted to public areas of the AIM service.”

More importantly, Weinstein said a blunt and inelegant line that reads “You waive any right to privacy” will be deleted altogether.

“That’s a phrase that should not have been in that section in the first place. It clearly caused confusion, with good reason,” Weinstein conceded.

Over the last weekend, AOL representatives moved to quell public criticism of the terms of service after the issue was first flagged on Weblogs and discussion forums.

[Thanks to Dave and Quentin for the update.]